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End Of Season Media Day Takeaways

An unbelievable year comes to a close, three wins too soon. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

There was so much to take away from the end of year media availability with the players, Gallant, and McPhee, that we figured we’d chuck it all into one post and then break out stories from it over the next couple weeks. So, here are all of our takeaways from the final day of the 2017-18 Vegas Golden Knights.

  • Las Vegas has become home for a lot of players on the Golden Knights, but no one has adopted Vegas quite like Pierre-Edouard Bellemare.
    • “It’s home. It’s easy to judge other places and I’ve always told myself, I’ll go back to France because I love France. Then I came to Vegas and for the first time in my life my wife and I were like why not in the States then, we don’t mind Vegas whatsoever, we like it. Vegas has been a place you came to think you are going to play hockey and suddenly you find a home.”
  • This team realized they were going to be good a lot earlier than they led on. Many different players were asked and the answers varied from the second day of training camp to Christmas.
  • David Perron and the Golden Knights had some contract negotiations during the season but they never came to an agreement
    • He absolutely wants to stay.
    • He believes there’s room to work on both sides. “I’ll deserve what I’ll deserve, but I’m willing to work with them to stay here.”
    • He has always found stability important because he’s bounced around teams a lot in his career. Term length seems fairly important to him.
    • Mentioned “his buddy” Marchessault specifically a few times as a reason he wants to stay.
  • Perron’s illness which kept him out of multiple games against Winnipeg was a 103-degree fever. He told the doctors he wanted to play but their fear was that he could possibly spread it around the room. He was sent back to Vegas before Game 2 of the series and felt better when he came back.
  • The reason Perron was kept out of a portion of the Kings series was due to an injury to his neck. He sustained it earlier in the year and said he and the doctors didn’t think early in that series was the right time to come back.
  • One of my favorites moments was when William Carrier said he will never change the way he plays. I chimed in by saying “even when you completely whiff on the guy and check yourself super hard into the boards in that last game?” He responded “which time?”

Deryk Engelland still has the written version of the speech he delivered on October 10th on his phone.

  • Engelland’s best quote was “coming into this year everyone had a chip on their shoulder, now we have another chip, we’re not satisfied.”
  • Marchessault wants everybody back because “I think we have something special here.”
  • Of all players on the team, Alex Tuch is the player that feels the most connected to the Golden Knights as a hockey team. “(The Golden Knights logo and name) means everything. Being a part of this team has changed my life.” It’s the first team he’s really ever played for and he continuously called it the best year of his life.
  • Braden Holtby told Tuch it was a lucky save.
  • Nate Schmidt would not stop talking about how awesome the team was off the ice. He was proud of the play on the ice, but he was gushing about the off-ice chemistry.
  • Schmidt nearly teared up talking about what Vegas means to him. “You look at your neighbors and the people of the city and everyone is kind of in the same boat.”
  • William Karlsson was not injured during the Stanley Cup Final. Would not admit to a single injury at all during the whole year despite many people asking him.
  • “I knew that this was a good chance for me to be a better player. I couldn’t dream of getting 43 goals but I got the chance and I took it. Playing with Marchessault and Smith, they’re the stars to me.” -Karlsson
  • James Neal mentioned multiple times that he would like to stay. Says for him it’s all about winning and with the team here there’s no reason he wouldn’t want to stick around.
  • Luca Sbisa thinks they may have “gripped the stick a little too tight” and that’s what cost them the series.
  • Sbisa says he loves it in Vegas and it would be his preference to stay. Said he didn’t think he had his best year due to all the injuries.
  • Fleury said it’s funny how a year ago he was too old to play and now Vegas gave him a chance and he had one of the best years of his career.
    • “Vegas has given me the opportunity to do what I love. I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else and I hope to finish my career here.”
  • Fleury talked a bit about the rise in expectations next year but said they should be able to handle it and will just try to keep being successful.
  • The reason Fleury skated after Alex Ovechkin was because Ovechkin had been tapping him on the pad before every game and “they kept winning so I was like the next time he touches me I’m going to get him back.”
    • “He’s a very good hockey player and always dangerous around the net. Can’t say I’m happy to see him raise the Cup because I’m not. It is what it is.”
  • Gallant said this season was the most fun he’s ever had in hockey, “until last night”
  • Gallant seemed pretty happy about the roster he has and how many core players are already on the team.
  • McPhee said tough decisions will have to be made and “not everyone will be back.” He consistently mentioned the importance of making good decisions with due to the constraints of the salary cap.
  • McPhee called the top prospects from the 2017 Entry Draft “long shots” to make the roster next season. Said they would have to be “really really good” to make the club.
    • He then went into a little sidebar about how he doesn’t believe teenagers should be in the NHL. Says there’s no rush to developing guys. Compared it to taking a kid from 8th grade and putting him in 12th. “Smartest thing we can do is take our time and develop them.”
  • “Sometimes a great book, great movie, great story, doesn’t have a great ending, but it doesn’t take away from the plot or the narrative or interesting protagonists and antagonists along the way, or the character of all the authors. It’s still a great story. We wish it had ended a little bit better. It would have been great to deliver a championship to this city. We all know what the real story is this year, but it would have been great if we could have made things even better.” -McPhee
  • McPhee says they like Nikita Gusev a lot and they would like to get him over here. They have talked to him and will continue to talk to him about coming over.
  • McPhee has a theory that the extended rest kept the Golden Knights from playing their best.
    • “In the 3 weeks leading up to the series we had only played 5 games.”
    • He went through the five games in the Winnipeg series and said they didn’t play their best until Game 5, and then had to wait another eight days to get back on the ice.
    • “If you look at it in its totality, it’s five games in 21 days and everybody is accustomed to 13, 14, 15 games a month. So I didn’t think we were as sharp and were executing as well as we could have. We had five weeks off in the playoffs. I didn’t think we had a lot of luck, but excuses are for losers, I just thought Washington was really good.

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12 Comments

  1. RJ

    “coming into this year everyone had a chip on their shoulder, now we have another chip, we’re not satisfied.”

  2. brian

    Great read, as always, Ken. Thank YOU for the exceptional coverage this season.

    #Cupin2 !!!!

  3. Jonathan Bezrutczyk

    Well done. Thank you for covering the team like you did all ear. Look forward to next year, Gusev, and how much better this roster will be in 18-19! (Sign Tavares)

    • Bent Hermit

      I agree sign Tavares and move Huala to 3c. Tavares, Gusev and Tuch all on one line would be awesome.

  4. Joe Ellis

    This team is special and every single one of these guys will be my favorite players for life. Everybody who was a part of this team this year brought a lot of light to people and a city in a dark time. VGK forever.

  5. Rob

    Ken, thank you for this. The only time I ever felt a connection this strong to a team was at Purdue. I love my Boiler’s, but this is different. These are pros that I have never met and yet through your coverage, I feel like I grew up knowing them.

    They are quality guys and you guys at SinBin do an amazing job of connecting us “plebes” to them.

    So amped for next season and so many more. GO KNIGHTS GO

  6. Nick

    Rocky didn’t win in Rocky, but he won in Rocky II.
    #CupIn2

  7. Joe

    “Excuses are for losers”

    Have you been hanging around GMGM too much, Ken?

  8. Lanced Larochelle

    McPhee always had excuses when he failed in Washington…too much rest? LMAO!
    Fans in Vegas will soon realize that McPhee is a born loser

    • Thad

      Except he doesn’t play. He basically put together both teams in the SC Final. It’s not his fault the team couldn’t deliver on the ice as all he can do is put them on the ice. It’s not his fault Neal hit the Pipe and Tuch shot in on the Middle C of CCM. Quit blaming the GM.

    • Alvin

      Mc Phee put together an expansion team that made it to the Stanley Cup Final, yet some internet cockroach calls him a loser.
      Hmmmmm….. Lemme think about this.

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